A bank of 10 Lancashire boilers were erected in 1937 to supply steam for the winding engines, pithead baths, canteen, compressors and to heat the offices. When the liquidators moved in 1992/93 the boilers were sold off for scrap - The roof removed, but before the boilers were scrapped they were saved, However roof not replaced which had had a big effect of the derelict state they are now in........
Audit April 1969:
STEAM RAISING PLANT
Type of Boilers : Lancashire
Number of Boilers : Ten
Function : Winding, Power, Generation and Space Heating
Method of Firing: 2 Methane Gas, 8 Chain Grate Stokers
Pressure : 200 P.S.I.
Capacity lbs/Steam/Hour : 100,000
Date of Installation : 1937
Summary of Building
Boiler house (16) of circa 1937 and attached chimney (3) of 1891. Not included in the listing is the dust sampling laboratory (17).
Reasons for Designation
The boiler house and attached chimney at Chatterley Whitfield Colliery which were constructed in c.1931 and 1891 respectively are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic plant: although the boiler house has suffered a considerable loss of fabric, its intrinsic interest lies in its ten Lancashire boilers, considered to be the largest concentration surviving within a single building; * Landscape prominence: the chimney is an iconic and highly visible presence in this former colliery landscape; * Group value: they are essential components of an important and largely intact complex which contains examples of a full range of colliery structures.
The coal seams in the Chatterley Whitfield area may have been worked from the medieval period but large-scale extraction began in the C19, particularly following the opening of the Biddulph Valley Railway line in the 1860s and the formation of Chatterley Whitfield Collieries Ltd in 1891. By the early C20 the mine workings were focussed around four shafts – known as the Engine Pit, Middle Pit, Institute Pit and Platt Pit. The 1910s saw significant investment including the construction of the new Winstanley shaft in 1913-15, which superseded the adjacent Engine Pit and served the workings of the Middle Pit. Soon after another new shaft was dug, the Hesketh Shaft constructed 1914-1917. This was designed to serve the much deeper coal seams below those worked by the other shafts. By 1928, the colliery employed 4,402 men including 249 boys under 16. Following a contraction in production during the labour unrest of the 1920s and the Depression of the 1930s, there was renewed investment in the site including the mechanisation of underground haulage and the construction of new office accommodation and a pithead baths complex. In 1937 the colliery became the first to extract over one million tonnes of coal in a year.
Chatterley Whitfield's prominent chimneystack (3) was built in 1891, replacing a short square stack. It was initially built for five Adamson boilers located to the south which served Middle, Institute and Platt pits. The Ordnance Survey map of 1898 depicts buildings close to the chimney which may have housed the original boilers, although this area was also the location of a former endless rope haulage engine house. The chimney reduced in height on two occasions during the second half of the C20.
The production of high-pressure steam at Chatterley Whitfield was centralised in 1938 with the construction of the main boiler house (16) in an area that was previously occupied by mechanical, electrical and woodworking shops. Prior to its construction, steam was raised in twenty-one, hand-fired boilers located across the colliery site. The mid-20 boiler house contained ten Lancashire boilers which were operated by an automatic pulverised fuel-feeding system since fine pulverised coal was renowned for its efficiency. The dust was retrieved from the screening plant (demolished late C20) and was carried via an overhead conveyor to the boiler house where it was continually blown into the boilers. High-pressure steam was fed directly from the boiler house to the colliery's steam-winding engines and to the compressors in the Hesketh power house, while some of the low-pressure steam provided heat to some buildings, including the pithead baths and the offices. In the later C20 two of the boilers were adapted to burn the methane that was present in the coal seams, while the rest were run on coal. The boiler house remained in operation until the closure of the colliery, and the roof and upper part of the building was demolished as a safety precaution in the late C20.